Gayla Pwerle

Utopia artist Galya Pwerle’s country is Atnwengerrp and her languages are Anmatyerre and Alyawarre.  She is thought to be in her early 90’s although no records of her birth exist, and she has had little exposure to western culture.  Her Dreaming is for Bush Melon and its seeds, and she paints ‘Awelye Atnwengerrp’, which refers to the women’s awelye ceremonies that celebrate this bush tucker through dance and song.

Galya begins her stunning paintings on canvas with the patterns women paint on their bodies during awelye ceremonies, paying homage to their ancestors, the land and food it provides.  The body painting lines and concentric circles are just visible beneath the rich layers of dots that represent the flowers and fruit of the bush melon.  Her abundant and lively dotting in the rich warm colours of the bush allows for mesmerizing textural complexity similar to that of the late Emily Kame Kngwarreye, and expresses well the scattering of the tiny seeds into the wind.

Galya is the youngest of the Pwerle sisters, and many of her family members are artists, including her eldest sister the late Minnie Pwerle, her niece Barbara Weir, and her extended family members Aileen and Betty Mpetyane.  Galya first began to paint on canvas in 2004 with her older sisters Molly and Emily in a painting workshop organized by Barbara, and Minnie took a close and supportive role in the development of her younger sisters’ paintings. Galya was nominated in 2005 and 2008 for the Telstra Art Award.

2005    Group exhibition, Mbantua
Gallery, Alice Springs, NT

2005     Finalist for the Telstra Awards

2006      ‘The Pwerle Sisters’ Group exhibition, Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne, VIC

2006    Group Exhibition, APS Bendi
Lango Art Exhibition, Rio Tinto Offices, Melbourne, VIC

2007    ‘Utopia in New York’ Robert
Steele Gallery, New York. USA.

2007    Annual Group Exhibition
‘Shalom’, University of NSW, Shalom Department, Kensington, NSW.

2007   ‘Desert Diversity’, Flinders Lane
Gallery, Melbourne, VIC.

2007    Group Exhibition, Australian
Embassy, Washington, USA.

2007   ‘Treasures of the Spirit’,
Tandanya Cultural Institute, Adelaide, SA.

2007    Group exhibition, “New Works
from Utopia”, Space Gallery,
Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

2008    Group exhibition, “Utopia
Discoveries”, Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne, VIC.

2008    Finalist for the  25th Telstra

2008    Group travelling exhibition to major cities of Australia, “EWB Elements”, presented by DACOU in conjunction with  Dreamtime Art and Engineers Without Borders.

2008    Solo exhibition, “Galya Pwerle –
Fruits of the Desert”, DACOU
Melbourne, Middle Park, VIC.

2009   “Utopia, Color’s of the Desert”,
Gongpyeong Art Space in conjunction with DACOU, Australian Embassy in Korea & Crossbay Gallery, Seoul, Korea
2009   “Walking Together to Aid
Aboriginal Health”, Shalom Gamarada Aboriginal Art Exhibition, University of NSW, Kensington, NSW.

2010   “Utopia”, Group exhibition,
DACOU Melbourne, Middle    Park, VIC.

2010   “McCulloch’s Aboriginal Art –
The Summer Show”, group exhibition, Salt Contemporary Art, Queenscliff, VIC.

2010   “Desert Rhythms”, group
exhibition, Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne, VIC.

2010   “A Summer Exhibition from The
Lands”, group exhibition, McCulloch’s Aboriginal Art and Flinders Village Café, Flinders, VIC.

2010   “The Pwerle Sisters” Group
Exhibition, DACOU Australia,
Melbourne, VIC.

See below some of her beautiful pieces for sale: